Regulation of lobbying

General

Is lobbying self-regulated by the industry, or is it regulated by the government, legislature or an independent regulator? What are the regulator’s powers?

There is no special regulation of lobbying and advocacy in Ukraine. However, for years this topic has been the subject of discussion in parliamentary, political and expert circles. Over the past 10 years, at least five draft laws on the regulation of lobbying and advocacy have been submitted to the Rada, of which three are currently officially registered; however, none of them is in the process of active consideration by the Rada at the moment.

To date, there are a number of public initiatives in Ukraine aimed at the development of relevant legislation. In addition, in spite of the lack of a formally recognised profession of lobbyist or government relations specialist, relevant associations exist and congresses that gather experts in this field to discuss industry issues are being held in Ukraine. Nevertheless, despite the urgency to regulate lobbying it should be stated that at the moment the level of public discussion over legalisation of lobbying is low, hence decreasing the probability of adoption of the respective legislation in the foreseeable future.

Currently, restrictions on lobbying are established at the level of anti-corruption legislation, which regulates conflicts of interest, and sets restrictions for civil servants, parliamentarians and employees of public enterprises.

Definition

Is there a definition or other guidance as to what constitutes lobbying?

There is no definition of lobbying in Ukrainian legislation.

Registration and other disclosure

Is there voluntary or mandatory registration of lobbyists? How else is lobbying disclosed?

The registration of lobbyists is not envisaged by the current legislation because of a lack of regulation on lobbying and advocacy activities.

In this regard, the main subjects of advocacy for businesses and the public are business associations, industry associations of producers of goods and services, representatives of other NGOs and public initiatives. The regulation of their activities falls under the general legislative regulation of NGOs.

The Constitution and legislation guarantee the right to freedom of association in order to exercise and protect the rights and freedoms of citizens and to satisfy public interests in, among others, the economic, social, cultural and environmental spheres.

NGOs have the right to:

  • apply to the bodies of state power and local self-government, and their officials and officers with policy proposals (remarks), applications (petitions) and complaints;
  • receive public information from authorities and other administrators of public information; and
  • participate in drafting legal and regulatory acts that are adopted by public authorities and local self-government and relate to the sphere of activity of a civil association and important issues of state and public life.

Registration of NGOs is conducted by the Ministry of Justice.

Activities subject to disclosure or registration

What communications must be disclosed or registered?

Civil associations are not obliged to disclose information about their interaction with representatives of authorities, businesses, etc.

Entities and persons subject to lobbying rules

Which entities and persons are caught by the disclosure rules?

Not applicable.

Lobbyist details

What information must be registered or otherwise disclosed regarding lobbyists and the entities and persons they act for ? Who has responsibility for registering the information?

Not applicable.

Content of reports

When must reports on lobbying activities be submitted , and what must they include?

Not applicable.

Financing of the registration regime

How is the registration system funded?

Registration of NGOs is conducted by the Ministry of Justice.

Public access to lobbying registers and reports

Is access to registry information and to reports available to the public?

There are no lobbying registers because of a lack of regulation on lobbying. However, there is an open register of public associations, which can be accessed online at http://rgo.informjust.ua/.

Code of conduct

Is there a code of conduct that applies to lobbyists and their practice?

Ukrainian legislation does not provide for the mandatory adoption of ethical codes by public associations, but these associations have the right to accept such documents and encourage their members to comply with them.

Media

Are there restrictions in broadcast and press regulation that limit commercial interests’ ability to use the media to influence public policy outcomes?

There is currently no legislation that regulates commercial interests’ use of the media to influence public policy outcomes. According to the Law on Television and Radio Broadcasting, television and radio organisations can be financed by, inter alia, credit, investments and tranches from owners and co-owners, and by sponsors and charity organisations. This creates the possibility for businesses to finance, and therefore influence, the media.

However, from a political point of view, these possibilities are limited by the fact that the majority of influential media outlets are owned or controlled by large businesses or tycoons, which only allow friendly or affiliated interests to use their media for political purposes. Owners and co-owners also often use their own media outlets to pursue their political agendas.

The legislation does provide for regulation of relations between media outlets and their owners. In particular, the Law on Television and Radio Broadcasting stipulates that the owners of a television and radio organisation cannot interfere with its creative activities other than by introducing changes to its editorial statute. The obligatory editorial statute should contain, inter alia, requirements regarding the creation and distribution of information, including about politicians and political parties during and after the election process. In addition, it should provide for the creation of an editorial council, in which half the members are appointed by the organisation’s owners and the other half by its creative staff. The above-mentioned obligations do not apply to print media.

There is also an ongoing discussion in Ukraine about stricter limitations on paid journalism.